EFEWashington

Northrop Grumman, a global aerospace and defense technology company, won the contract to build U.S. Air Force's next bomber striker for $80 billion.

The custom manufacturer of military equipment will develop new generation bombers that will replace the current fleet and serve the Air Force for the next fifty years.

"The long-range strike bomber will support America's defense strategy by forming the backbone of the Air Force's future strike and deterrent capabilities," said U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at a press conference Tuesday.

The U.S. Air Force expects to acquire 100 of the new bombers at an estimated average price of $564 million each plus engineering and development costs.

Northrop Grumman, who also manufactures Stealth Bomber B-2, said in a statement it aims to build an aircraft "with potential and affordable."

The company had stiff competition from Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the project, which is the largest contract issued by the U.S. Department of Defense in more than a decade.

U.S. media reported Tuesday the new bomber will possibly be unmanned, similar to drones.

The acquisition of new bombers is a priority for the Pentagon, whose B-52 fleet is ancient, while the newer B-2 stealth models are already more than two decades old.